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Destination On The Left

Destination On The Left is a podcast focused on the travel and tourism industry that explores successful collaborations, creative marketing ideas and best practices. Interviews are a mix of Destination Marketers, Industry Leaders, Consultants and businesses in the industry. We explore consumer marketing programs and travel trade marketing programs. This podcast provides an opportunity for professionals in the travel & tourism industry to share what they have learned and successes that they have achieved.
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Now displaying: December, 2021
Dec 22, 2021

For this second episode in a special two-part series of Destination on the Left episodes, my team visited the Vermont Tourism Summit (without me!) to interview attendees about their experiences working in the travel and tourism industry, especially during the outbreak of and our gradual emergence from the global pandemic. The Vermont Tourism Summit draws one of the largest gatherings of tourism professionals in the state including owners, managers, and employees of the many businesses connected to this important segment of the economy. This year’s Summit was the 37th annual event and was held from November 17-18 at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel in Killington, VT.

I’m delighted to share the insights and experiences that the Vermont Tourism Summit attendees my team spoke with were willing to offer during their interviews. In this second episode of a special two-part Destination On The Left series, you’ll hear from these eight extraordinary travel and tourism leaders and experts:

Discussing Challenges and Opportunities at the Vermont Tourism Summit

The Vermont Tourism Summit is an annual event that brings together area travel and tourism professionals, businesses, and destinations. This year’s event offered a one-of-a-kind opportunity to discuss the many challenges and opportunities Vermont area destinations are navigating in this uniquely challenging time. My team traveled to the Vermont Tourism Summit for this year’s gathering and were able to speak with eight incredible experts and business leader attendees, and here are the inspiring insights they had to share.

Julie Basol from Vergennes Partnership

Julie shares how Vergennes is the ideal destination for anyone who loves the outdoors, and she shares how her goal for 2022 is keeping the small city, its residents, and visitors safe as life begins to move back toward normal. She highlights some of the charming, family-friendly area destinations and attractions that make Vergennes an ideal place for people to visit or relocate to, and she explains why staying positive in this transition period is critical.

Kim Jackson from Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports

Kim shares why inclusion is foremost in her mind as we close out the year and enter 2022. In her role at Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, inclusion is critical to their mission. Kim explains why serving people with all sorts of physical and cognitive disabilities. She discusses how the programs Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports offers are designed to make it possible for anyone to enjoy the beautiful mountains and winter activities. She describes the kind of marketing her organization does to get the word out.

Lisa Chase from University of Vermont Extension

Lisa explains why she is so excited to be hosting the upcoming 2022 International Workshop on Agritourism being held in Burlington, VT from August 30-September 1, 2022. She shares how she got started at UVM twenty years ago, and she shares how she first became aware of the term “agritourism”. She discusses how Vermont is one of the true agritourism capitols of the world. She shares how she saw a call for proposals to present at the first World Congress on Agritourism in Italy in 2018, and what she learned from the concert. She describes how Vermont won the right to host the 2020 conference but had to postpone when the pandemic started, and she discusses how the 2022 International Workshop on Agritourism is the culmination of all the hard work and false starts.

Parker Riehle from Get On Snow

Parker shares how is organization was founded two years ago to promote outdoor winter recreation. He describes how Get On Snow isn’t just focused on bringing skiers and snowboarders to slopes but how the organization also highlights any winter sport people enjoy, including “gateway sports” such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. He describes how the outbreak of the global pandemic increased people’s desire to get out and enjoy nature even more than before. He shares how optimism and excitement are the prevailing feelings as people begin to become more comfortable with travel again.

Peter MacLaren from West Hill Bed & Breakfast

Peter shares how Vermont has led the way in vaccinations, and he shares how that commitment to public health has made it easier for destinations such as his West hill Bed & Breakfast to offer safer environments for travelers. He also describes how Vermont’s reputation for being one of the safest destinations has brought new people to Vermont who might never have discovered its wonders otherwise. He shares how he believes these newcomers will help offset visitor loss as long-distance travel begins to become more prevalent. He shares how the new presence of big name organizations from the ski industry is creating even more opportunities for the state and for local businesses like his.

Rick Sokoloff and Marina Meerburg from 4 Points VT

Rick and Marina share how 4 Points VT started as a mountain biking school before integrating brewery tours, and Rick talks about how a key collaborative partnership with the Trapp Family Lodge has become core to the mountain biking experience 4 Points VT offers. The pair discuss adding a third arm to their business, adding customized artisan tours for corporate groups and others. Marina explains how they’ve even begun requesting family reunions and foliage tours, and she describes how easing pandemic restrictions have helped their business grow dramatically in recent months. Rick and Marina share plans for keeping the pace of their growth while maintaining the high quality they’re known for, and they discuss their strategy for continuing to grow to the point that they can be ready to take on full-time employees. Marina describes the personnel challenges the organization has faced in filling roles to keep up with the work, and Rick shares how great training leads to happy return workers season after season.

Sarah Howe from Lake Morey Resort

Sarah describes her excitement for 2022 and the many new opportunities it is presenting for her resort. She talks about resuming paused programs and starting new ones to attract visitors. Sarah talks about expanding the outdoor activities her resort can offer for visitors and the local community, throughout the year. She explains how collaborating with local businesses and organizations has helped make both her business and the entire area stronger, and she shares how Lake Morey Resort reaches out to area businesses for partnership opportunities.

Sarah Morris from Basin Harbor

Sarah talks about how Basin Harbor, established in 1886, will be celebrating its 136th birthday in 2022. She discusses some of the challenges her organization has faced through the pandemic, including staffing shortages, and she talks about some of the exciting opportunities she is looking forward to in the coming year. She shares how Basin Harbor has experienced robust demand throughout 2021 that the organization is using to expand their offerings and renovate their facilities. She shares how her property’s staff swells from just 25 employees in the winter to over 200+ through the summer season, and she shares how bringing in international workers will be instrumental in Basin Harbor’s continued recovery as we emerge from the pandemic.

Enthusiasm for a New Beginning

As each of these Vermont area travel and tourism leaders discussed, there’s an abiding sense of optimism for 2022 as life continues to move beyond the pandemic. Through key collaborations with area partners and through developing a better understanding of travelers’ safety needs and entertainment expectations, these organizations are each positioning themselves for a stellar new year!

I hope you enjoyed this second episode of our special two-part series from the Vermont Tourism Summit. I hope the positivity and optimism these leaders have shared with us inspire you as we wrap up 2021 and turn the page for a bright new year! The pandemic has been hard for anyone in the travel and tourism industry, but the lessons we’ve learned and strategies we have developed will help us roar into the coming year!

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes! https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Dec 15, 2021

For this first episode in a special two-part series of Destination on the Left episodes, my team visited the Vermont Tourism Summit (without me!) to interview attendees about their experiences working in the travel and tourism industry, especially during the outbreak of and our gradual emergence from the global pandemic. The Vermont Tourism Summit draws one of the largest gatherings of tourism professionals in the state including owners, managers, and employees of the many businesses connected to this important segment of the economy. This year’s Summit was the 37th annual event and was held from November 17-18 at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel in Killington, VT.

I’m delighted to share the insights and experiences that the Vermont Tourism Summit attendees my team spoke with were willing to offer during their interviews. In this first episode of a special two-part Destination On The Left series, you’ll hear from these seven extraordinary travel and tourism leaders and experts:

  • Ana Dan, Owner and General Manager of the Hyde Away Inn & Restaurant
  • Bob Schwartz, Director of Marketing & Sales at the Trapp Family Lodge
  • Carrie Simmons, Executive Director of the Stowe Area Association
  • Diane Stockton-Breese, Director of Member Services at Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Fred Cercena, CEO and Founder of GetAway Vacations
  • Jenny Dewar, Owner of Karin’s Place
  • Josh Palace, Sales Manager at Spirit of Ethan Allen

Discussing Challenges and Opportunities at the Vermont Tourism Summit

The Vermont Tourism Summit is an annual event that brings together area travel and tourism professionals, businesses and destinations. This year’s event offered a one-of-a-kind opportunity to discuss the many challenges and opportunities Vermont area destinations are navigating in this uniquely challenging time. My team travelled to the Vermont Tourism Summit for this year’s gathering and were able to speak with seven brilliant leaders, and here are the inspiring insights they had to share.

Ana Dan from Hyde Away Inn & Restaurant

Ana discusses the properties she owns and shares how her properties are navigating the challenge of the global pandemic by investing in technologies such as air filtration to restore traveler confidence as we emerge from the crisis. She shares how the flux of people entering and leaving travel and tourism work has created hiring challenges that her businesses are navigating by hiring foreign workers to fill vital positions. She talks about creating a welcoming community for these incoming workers, and she discusses the critical need for affordable housing for these incoming workers. She discusses allocating a few of the rooms in her inn for workers as a stopgap measure until housing accommodations are made available on a permanent basis.

Bob Schwartz from the Trapp Family Lodge

Bob shares what excites him most about the coming year and the opportunities it presents. He discusses how people’s increasing comfort with international travel is building toward a potentially great year for his organization. He explains why creating the best experience possible for visitors is an important key to attracting international travelers.

Carrie Simmons from Stowe Area Association

Carrie shares why Stowe, Vermont is excited about the coming ski season and the events her town will be able to offer in 2022 as we continue to move out of the pandemic over the course of the coming year. She also discusses how her team is ramping up for this expected coming increase in area travel.

Diane Stockton-Breese from Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce

Diane shares some of the highlights the Okemo Valley area offers across the twelve towns and villages her organization represents. She discusses a unique, pandemic-safe event her organization offered over the summer of 2021, and she shares how the event showcased many of the area’s visitor offerings. She talks about some of the key lessons her organization was able to draw from the festival that they will be able to take forward as the pandemic eases, and she shares her optimism for how the event will continue to grow in the future.

Fred Cercena from GetAway Vacations

Fred discusses why his main focus going into 2022 is the increasing amount of reservations that have been coming in from online travel agents rather than through direct reservations on their website. He shares how relying on sites like Airbnb and Expedia has created new challenges that need to be navigated. He highlights some of the programs and campaigns his organization has developed to increase the number of direct bookings. He also discusses how visitor loyalty to the area is a key concern he will be focusing on throughout the coming year.

Jenny Dewar from Karin’s Place

Jenny shares what excites her about her position as a short-term rental destination owner going into 2022, and she describes how government programs such as the PPP loan helped her businesses stay afloat through the challenges of 2020, and she shares how 2021 became a watershed year for her businesses. She describes why she is excited about her new position as the Executive Director of the Better Bennington Corporation and the opportunity the position presents for her to help in revitalizing downtown Bennington and in bringing new and returning events to the area. Jenny explains how hiring a “social media genius” has helped get the word out about the exciting things the Better Bennington Corporation is doing in the area.

Josh Palace from Spirit of Ethan Allen

Josh discusses how business boomed for his organization in 2021, even without access to travellers from Canada and other international locations, thanks to the outstanding job the state of Vermont has done in navigating the pandemic. He shares why he expects 2022 to be even bigger once international borders are fully reopened. He shares how digital partnerships have become cornerstones of his organization’s success, and he shares how the area’s more than 200 attractions have worked collaboratively to support each other through the pandemic crisis. He describes feeling like an ambassador for Vermont when encouraging travelers to take a closer look at the area’s other offerings. He explains why a strong sense of collaboration has been instrumental to his own success in his position.

Great Excitement for the Coming New Year

As each of these Vermont area travel and tourism leaders discussed, there’s an abiding sense of optimism for 2022 as life continues to move beyond the pandemic. Through key collaborations with area partners and through developing a better understanding of traveller’s safety needs and entertainment expectations, these organizations are each positioning themselves for a stellar new year!

I hope you enjoyed this first episode of our special two-part series from the Vermont Tourism Summit. I hope the positivity and optimism these leaders have shared with us inspire you as we wrap up 2021 and turn the page for a bright new year. Next week, we’ll hear from eight more remarkable Vermont travel and tourism experts, so I hope you’ll join the conversation!

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes! https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Dec 8, 2021

Nasya Kamrat is the Co-founder and CEO of FACULTY, a certified women-owned spatial storytelling agency that creates human-centric experiences for global brands. Passionate about innovative storytelling, Nasya constantly searches for unique opportunities to create an authentic experience that people can connect with, whether in real life or online.

As an award-winning creative strategist, she has been creating content that spans traditional, interactive, experiential, and digital media for nearly 20 years. Nasya is also dedicated to empowering women and people of color in business.

Before starting FACULTY, Nasya had the pleasure of working at some of New York’s leading global ad agencies as a creative producer and strategist. She holds a B.A. in Theatre and English from Florida State University.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Nasya Kamrat about how storytelling can connect people to places in a more meaningful way. Nastya shares her inspirational story of collaboration amid adversity and challenge and how it inspired her to start FACULTY, which she designed as a co-op for underrepresented agencies. She shares some creative ways for your destination to stand out from the crowd by helping potential visitors experience a holistic journey. Nasya also discusses her favorite case studies that exemplify how creating a brand experience can elevate destination marketing.

What You Will Learn:

  • How to use spatial storytelling in your destination marketing
  • Finding the right story for your destination to tell
  • How to create a connection between a place and a guest through narrative
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic allowed Nasya to prompt a little bit of wanderlust in people in preparation for when we could travel again
  • Moments over the last 18 months when Nasya was faced with a challenge and how she moved through it creatively
  • How Nasya took the big agency model of gathering several boutique agencies under one umbrella but put a whole new spin on it to serve a more diverse range of people
  • Nasya’s advice for listeners about finding those right-fit partners with the same interests as you

Finding Your Story

Brand storytelling is something that everyone talks about. But how do you create a world in which people can immerse themselves and experience stories that follow them wherever they go?

Whether you’re marketing a town, a local event, or a visitor experience, you have to keep your brand story at the forefront of your mind and reference it at every single touchpoint when the guests walk in the door. Nasya Kamrat explains the importance of defining and identifying the narrative and how to uncover the real human story behind a place — then delivering it uniquely.

Collaborating with Like-Minded Founders

As destination marketers, we’re all trying to figure out what travel looks like in the post-pandemic world. The idea of collaborating and finding like-minded founders and figuring out how to work together is more attractive than ever before.

This week, my guest on the podcast, Nasya Kamrat, describes why she was inspired to band together and build a co-op of other women-owned, Black-owned, and Latinx-owned businesses. We explore why, by teaming up as destinations, we can create value and efficiencies for our clients and better support independent agencies who are underrepresented.

To learn more about Nasya and her company, FACULTY, please check out the contact links below:

Dec 1, 2021

Greg was previously the CMO at LifeLock. He is a seasoned executive with a unique knowledge of start-ups and how to create an innovative strategy and align it with practical execution to achieve exceptional results. Greg possesses a progressive and diverse background in Marketing (brand management, digital and traditional marketing, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing), Finance (budgeting, planning, debt & equity raise, IPO), and Operations (process improvement, risk management, call centers, and reporting & analytics). He has over 17 years of experience, ranging from Chief Marketing Officer of a $1B+ public company to the financial lead of a start-up that went public.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Greg Lim, who gives his actionable tips on ways you can create meaningful connections with prospective customers through personalization and data. He demystifies how to incorporate personalization into your marketing by sharing his crawl, walk, run approach to implementing new marketing tactics. Greg also highlights the importance of collaboration between destination marketing organizations and how personalization can boost the success of co-op programs.

What You Will Learn:

  • How to deliver different personalized experiences to help a wide range of audiences and potential visitors in their trip planning
  • Why differentiate landing pages according to interest then extend the customer experience to your core website
  • How we’ve normalized bad communication and bad behavior in marketing through the historical limitations of technology
  • Using touchpoints to personalize a consumer experience to engage and delight virtual visitors
  • Approaching marketing personalization from a crawl, walk, run perspective with regards to technology
  • Technical solutions that allow marketers to take control of their campaigns and integrate their social media channels

Prioritize Your Website Marketing

Invest in your website — because that’s where all of your social channels and your marketing are sending everyone. So, if you invest in your website, your website performs better, and you’ll get a better conversion rate and return on your investment.

You can also build new partnerships and add value to your existing partners with your destination marketing site. Personalization can empower your team to go out and find collaboration opportunities. With your destination marketing site, you can create an exciting way to expand your partnership inventory and serve the different audiences coming to your website.

Personalization Shouldn’t Be Overwhelming

Gregory shares the common-sense middle ground in marketing personalization. He gives his insights on how to deliver meaningful experiences to your consumers that delight them and do it in a way that is not invasive.

You want to create a powerful experience for them that will ultimately drive your business results. The most significant opportunity for the travel and tourism industry is to take all the micro conversations and engagements that we already have with our visitors then carry that same conversation through to the website.
To learn more about Gregory and his company, Persosa, please check out the contact links below:

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